There’s an oft-told story that perfectly illustrates the next key distinction between anabolic and catabolic leaders.
A shoe company once sent two salespeople to a region of Africa in which the company had never sold any shoes. The first was Tom, one of their most experienced senior sales reps. They expected big things of Tom.
The other was an eager rookie named Cynthia. She didn’t have much experience, but she had a lot of enthusiasm. They figured she might be able to sell a few pair of shoes.
Shortly after the sales team’s arrival in Africa, Tom, the experienced salesperson wrote the home office saying, “You might as well bring me back. Nobody here wears shoes.”
The rookie, Cynthia, wired the home office an urgent message, “Send me all the shoes you’ve got. Nobody here is wearing shoes!”
Two people, faced with the same situation, yet having totally different reactions. What’s the difference between them? In a word, it’s energy—Tom is fueled by catabolic energy and Cynthia is fueled by anabolic energy. Looking through the lens of catabolic energy, leaders see obstacles and problems everywhere and in everything.
When they shift to the lens of anabolic energy, those same leaders become motivated to take action and capitalize on the plethora of opportunities and possibilities they perceive in every situation and circumstance.
Gripped by the Big 4 fear-fueled blocks of limiting beliefs, interpretations, assumptions and gremlins, leaders tend to focus on what’s wrong with their lives, their businesses and the world. When they choose to immerse themselves in a sea of destructive, catabolic energy, they complain, moan and don’t take a lot of action because they believe there are only more obstacles and problems ahead.
People with high anabolic energy—what Bruce D. Schneider refers to as Level 5 and above in his book Energy Leadership—get excited about transforming everything into an opportunity. They look at every situation and wonder what’s working, what’s right and what breakthrough might be next? They don’t see obstacles or problems, just thrilling adventures and fulfilling possibilities for making life even better.
While a leader fueled by catabolic energy might get upset and angry if one of his customers took his business to a competitor, a leader fueled by anabolic energy would look at that situation as an opportunity to, not only get the customer back, but to strengthen that and other client relationships by identifying and improving the factors that led to the customer’s dissatisfaction.
As you go through your day, look at your responses to what’s happening around you. Remember that your chosen perceptions calibrate your energy level and that energy level creates your reality. You always have the power to choose your response and shift from catabolic to anabolic energy. Neutralize the Negative Nellie voice in your head by getting curious—what’s working, what’s right and what breakthrough might be next?
Recapture your zest for living and step into your greatness TODAY by reclaiming your power to create the world you desire.
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